Transcendentalists can also be divided into three categories. The word akāma refers to one who does not have any material desires. Mokṣa-kāma refers to one who seeks liberation from material miseries, and sarva-kāma refers to one who has the material desire to enjoy. The most intelligent transcendentalist gives up all other processes and engages himself in the devotional service of the Lord, even though he may have many desires. It is not by any kind of transcendental activity—neither fruitive action, nor the cultivation of knowledge, nor cultivation of mystic yoga—that a person can achieve the highest perfection without adding a tinge of devotional service. But for devotional service, all other transcendental processes are just like nipples on the neck of a goat. The nipples on a goat's neck may be squeezed, but they do not supply milk. If one is to derive actual perfection from his process, he must take to the devotional service of Kṛṣṇa. In Bhagavad-gītā it is stated:.
- catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ
- janāḥ sukṛtino 'rjuna
- ārto jijñāsur arthārthī
- jñānī ca bharatarṣabha
"O best among the Bhāratas (Arjuna), four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me—the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute." (BG 7.16)
When these four types of people amass righteous activities, they come to the devotional service of the Lord. Out of these four, those who are distressed and those who desire wealth are called devotees with desires, whereas the other two, the inquisitive and the searcher for wisdom, are seekers of liberation. Because they worship Kṛṣṇa, they are all considered to be very fortunate. In due course of time, if they give up all desires and become pure devotees of the Supreme Lord, they can be considered most fortunate. Such fortunate beginners can develop only in the association of pure devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa. When one associates with pure devotees, he becomes a pure devotee himself. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.10.11):
- sat-saṅgān mukta-duḥsaṅgo
- hātuṁ notsahate budhaḥ
- kīrtyamānaṁ yaśo yasya
- sakṛd ākarṇya rocanam
"A person who is actually intelligent is able—by association of pure devotees—to hear about Lord Kṛṣṇa and His activities." These activities are so attractive that when one hears of them, he does not give up his association with the Lord.
But for the association of pure devotees, all other association is kaitava, or cheating. This is confirmed in the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam wherein it is stated that all cheating processes which obstruct transcendental realization are to be thrown off. By Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam one can understand reality as it is, and such understanding helps one transcend the three kinds of material miseries. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is compiled by the greatest sage, Vyāsadeva, and it is a work coming out of his mature experience. By understanding Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and rendering devotional service, one can immediately capture the Supreme Lord within his heart.
Lord Caitanya then explained that the word projjhita means"desire for liberation." One great commentator explained that desire for liberation is the most obstructive stumbling block on the path of God realization. Somehow or other, if one comes to Kṛṣṇa and begins to hear about Him, Kṛṣṇa is so kind that He awards him His lotus feet as a center. Having such a focal point, a devotee or transcendentalist forgets everything and engages himself in the devotional service of the Lord. When one comes to the Lord in devotional service, or in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the reward is the Supreme Himself. Once engaged for the Supreme, one no longer asks for anything, as do the distressed man and he who desires material possessions. The method of devotional service, the service itself, association of pure devotees and the causeless mercy of the Lord all act so wonderfully that one can give up all activities and become absorbed in Kṛṣṇa, even if he is distressed, in want of material possessions, inquisitive or is actually a wise man cultivating knowledge.
In summary, Kṛṣṇa is the meaning behind all the words in the Ātmārāma verse. Up to this point Lord Caitanya spoke only of the introduction to the Ātmārāma verse. Next He explains its real position.
In the cultivation of knowledge there are two kinds of transcendentalists. One of them worships the impersonal Brahman, and the other desires liberation. Since monists worship the impersonal feature of Brahman, they are therefore called worshipers of Brahman. These Brahman worshipers are further divided into three categories: the neophyte, one who is absorbed in Brahman realization, and one who has actually realized himself as Brahman. If devotional service is added, the knower of Brahman can then become liberated; otherwise there is no possibility of liberation. Anyone who is fully engaged in devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is understood to be already realized in Brahman. Devotional service is so strong that one is attracted to Kṛṣṇa even from the platform of Brahman worship. The Lord awards the devotee the perfection of a spiritual body, and he eternally engages in the transcendental service of Kṛṣṇa. It is when the devotee understands and becomes attracted by Kṛṣṇa's transcendental qualities that he wholeheartedly engages in devotional service. For instance, the four Kumāras and Śukadeva Gosvāmī were liberated from the beginning, yet in their later life they became attracted to the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and became devotees. Sanaka Kumāra was attracted by the aroma of the flowers offered to Kṛṣṇa, and the other Kumāras were attracted by the transcendental qualities of the Lord and thus engaged in His devotional service. The nine mystics mentioned in the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are understood to have been transcendentalists from birth by virtue of hearing of the transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa from Brahmā, Lord Śiva and Nārada.